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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  October 8, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: the risk of conflict in the middle east has grown under president obama's leadership. that was the charge mitt romney leveled today in a speech at the virginia military institute. good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, we assess the differences between the two candidates on foreign policy. >> brown: then, we update the spread of the deadly meningitis outbreak, infecting more than a hundred people in nine states. >> woodruff: ray suarez examines the stem cell discovery that earned two scientists the nobel prize in medicine. >> brown: margaret warner updates the state of the presidential race with stuart rothenberg, susan page, and andrew kohut. >> woodruff: and we talk to author salman rushdie about his memoir on life on the run after being sentenced to death by iran's religious leader.
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>> if you had said to me, here's what's going to happen in the next 12 years, what sort of shape do you think you'll be in at the end? i would probably not have bet on myself to be in good shape, no. yet i somehow did survive it. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: soon computing intelligence in unexpected places will change our lives and truly profound ways. technology can provide customizedded experiences tailored to individual consumer preferences. igniting a world of possibilities from the inside out. sponsoring tomorrow starts today. >> the william and and the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world.
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and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the presidential campaign's focus turned to foreign policy-- at least for a day-- as mitt romney sought to capitalize on new momentum. in a major speech, he challenged president obama's handling of a host of trouble spots. i know the president hopes for a safer, freer and more prosperous middle east allied with us. i hope this hope but hope is not a strategy. >> woodruff: with that mitt romney took aim at foreign policy today in a speech at virginia military institute in lexington, virginia. >> when we look at the middle east today, with iran closer
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than ever to nuclear weapons capability with the conflict in syria threatening to destabilize the region and with violent extremists on the march and with an american ambassador and three others dead likely at the hands of al qaeda affiliates it's clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the president took office. >> woodruff: that last point involved the assault on the u.s. consulate in benghazi libya and the death of ambassador chris stevens on the night of september 11. the administration initially blamed an anti-muslim film for inciting the trouble. more recently officials have said new information indicates it was a terrorist attack. today romney again criticized the president's response in libya. >> i want to be very clear. the blame for the murder of our people in libya and the attacks on our embassies in so many other countries lie solely with those who carry them out. no one else. but it is ouresponsibility and
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the responsibility of the president to use america's greatest power to shape his not to lead from behind. leaving our destiny at the mercy of events. >> woodruff: for its par, the obama campaign aired a new ad that accused romney of injecting politics into a national tragedy with his initial response to the consulate attack. >> when our u.s. diplomats were attacked in libya, the "new york times" said romney's knee-jerk response showed an extraordinary lack of presidential character. even republican experts say romney's remarks were the worst possible reaction to what happened. >> woodruff: romney also criticized the president today on iraq, arguing that u.s. influence there has been hurt by what he called the abrupt withdrawal of american forces. and he insisted he could do better at brokering peace between israel and the palestinians. >> i'll recommit america to the goal of a democratic, prosperous palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with
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the jewish state of israel. on this vital issue, the president has failed. >> woodruff: that statement stood in contrast to last may when romney told donors that a two-state solution was almost unthinkable to accomplish. democrats like senator john kerry at last month's convention seized on shifts like that one to argue that romney is not ready to guide foreign policy. >> mr. romney, here's a little advice. before you debate barack obama on foreign policy, you better finish the debate with yourself. >> woodruff: today the new obama ad pointed to romney's much criticized overseas trip during the summer to argue he lacks experience and clarity on foreign affairs. >> reckless. amateurish. that's what news media and fellow republicans called mitt romney's gaffe-filled july tour of israel and poland. >> woodruff: all of this played out as the president himself was
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in southern california. he declared the home of the late farm workers' union leader caesar chavez a national landmark. he also held fund-raisers in los angeles and san francisco. his campaign and the democratic national committee raised $181 million in september, the most for any month this year. but money aside, it appears romney's performance in last week's highly watched debate has improved his standing in the race. a new gallup tracking poll found the candidates in a dead heat, each receiving 47% among registered voters. the president had held a five-point advantage before the debate. and the pew research center showed romney coming from eight points down to four points ahead among likely voters. there were also signs that he's regained ground in several battle ground states. all of which raises the stakes for this thursday'sen counter between vice president joe biden
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and vice president shall candidate paul ryan. a debate that will cover both domestic and foreign policy. for more on all this for more on all of this and the differences between the presidential candidates when it comes to foreign policy, we get two views. michele flournoy is the co-chair of the obama campaign's national security advisory committee. she also serves as undersecretary of defense for policy in the obama administration. and peter feaver served on the national security council staff during the george w. bush administration. he's now a professor of political science and public policy at duke university. we thank you both for being with us. peter feaver, to you first. we heard governor romney today criticize the president broadly for not rejecting strongly enough america's influence in the world. yet when it came to specifics, we didn't hear many details. so let me just ask you about a couple of different places in the world. what about when it comes to iran. what exactly governor romney be
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doing differently right now? >> well, this is the criticism that the obama campaign has leveled at the romney campaign for not being detailed and specific enough. when it comes to iran, the president hasn't laid out a red line that he said clearly he would enforce. when asked to be precise about what it means for iran not to possess a nuclear weapon, the articulation of the red line, he's been vague and says he doesn't want to parse it further. i think there's a certain element of ambiguity about where you would draw the line precisely so as to avoid being trapped by it. but the other point to make is that president obama has had several years. during those years the options that he took or the choices that he took narrowed the options that he has today so one of the reasons why governor romney's approach to iran looked similar in some respects to president
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obama's is because governor romney would have done things very differently two or three years ago. governor romney maids a critique in june of 2009. that's when to begin. >> woodruff: let me ask you very quickly, would governor romney, for example, be more willing to let israel go ahead and attack iran if it come to that? >> governor romney has made it clear can't dictate to israel how israel protects itself from what it considers to be an existential threat. governor romney hassles said that he would be israel's strongest supporter in the region. he's worried about president obama's decision to create daylight between the united states and israel. >> woodruff: let me turn then to michelle flournoy. how do you respond for the campaign? >> the iran case is a great example of where the rhetoric would suggest huge differences between the president's position and governor romney's position. when you actually look at what romney called for, crippling
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sanctions, positioning our forces to be ready in the gulf and keeping the military option on the table, that's exactly what president obama has done. and exactly what his record will show. so it's a case of overdrawing the differences rhetorically but then actually not being able to say much about what would governor romney really do differently as commander in chief. >> woodruff: what about peter feaver's point that the decisions made a couple of years narrowed the choices? >> i'm not sure what he's referring to there. i think president obama, one of the things he did at the start of this administration was invest in strengthening our alliances and partnerships that have brought the international community around this strategy. this isn't just u.s. strategy. this is a tremendous international effort to impose these sanctions. the iranian currency has lost tremendous value over the last several weeks. the sanctions are biting and the policy is moving us in the right
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direction. >> woodruff: peter feaver, i do want to turn to several different parts. maybe we can come back to iran in a minute. on iraq we heard governor romney say that president obama moved too abruptly to pull the troops out. what would governor romney do differently? how much longer would he have left u.s. troops in iran? >> i think if romney had been president for the last four years he would have handled the negotiations with iraq very differently. he would have been personally involved. president obama delegated it. and refused to maintain the close relations with prime minister maliki that president bush had. he delegated it to vice president biden. a fine man but a man with baggage in the region because of his previous policy stance on dividing up iraq. they created a team on the ground in baghdad that was unable to achieve unity of efforts. and was unable to cooperate with the military saying effectively
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that ambassador crocker had. is iraq under the obama team undermined their negotiations by... they didn't think that the negotiations would be successful. all of these contributed, i think, to the situation we have today. >> woodruff: michelle flournoy. having been very involved in this, i would beg to differ with that characterization. look, we came to a point where the u.s. clearly offered a residual force to continue to help iraq with its security challenges and develop the force. maliki decided that he was uncomfortable taking the necessary legal framework to protect our troops through his parliament because he was worried about a no-confidence vote, you know, that any excuse on a controversial vote, you know, that that would create an excuse to give him a no-confidence vote. he was very worried about the impact on his tenure.
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so he said we're not willing to do it. at that point the secretary of defense and the president decided what anyone in their position would have, which is you can't keep thousands of u.s. troops on iraqi soil without legal protection so ensure that they wouldn't be subject to iraqi laws, iraqi courts and so forth. that was the recommendation of the chairman of the joint chiefs. it was clearly the right thing to do at that point. but this was a political decision by prime minister maliki, not some technical issue in the negotiations. >> woodruff: let me ask you about another part of the world, peter feaver. that is china. we heard governor romney say... he cited again and again the need for the united states to take the lead around the world. he said the u.s. should use its great influence to shape events. then he talked about china's recent assertiveness in the pacific region. what would he have the united states do right now to shape events with china? >> well, there has been some
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bipartisanship on east asia. so the obama administration after flirting with a different policy in 2009 returned to an emphasis on asia that had been there in the previous administration. there was an emphasis that involved strengthening our alliances with japan and india and presenting to china a clear choice about we will cooperate if they play by the rules of the game, but we will also demand that they play by the rules of the game. that strategy, which obama came to rather late, has been the strategy that followed in the past. that's the strategy that we will follow in the future. the problem with president obama'sivot to asia is not that he's focusing on asia. he's underresourced the visit to asia. the big difference between a second term for president obama and a romney administration would be that romney's pledge to beef up the u.s. navy, which is
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the key service of interest to strengthen our position in asia. i think that's an important difference. >> woodruff: what about that resource question, michelle flour foi? noy. >> i think it requires reinvestment in the relationships which is happening which is a diplomatic effort. it does require some change of our military posture. but it's not just about number of ships. there are plans that are being put in place now to actually shift more of the navy into asia. what matters most is what are the capabilities of those systems? when you look at what this administration has protected and increased investment in, in its military budget, it is the capabilities to require to enable america freedom of action in a very contested environment in asia and elsewhere. >> woodruff: well, we're going to have to leave it there. we know the two candidates will be debating foreign policy on october 22. thank you both for being with us.
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>> woodruff: you can watch all of mitt romney's speech at v.m.i. today on our web site. >> brown: still to come on the newshour, a deadly meningitis outbreak; the stem cell breakthrough; rothenburg, page, and kohut on the campaign; and salman rushdie on life under a death sentence. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: the investigation into the killing of the u.s. ambassador to libya took new turns today. cbs and abc news reported american officials in libya had asked for more security personnel, but the state department refused. meanwhile, libyan officials said president obama's top counterterror advisor, john brennan, will be in libya tomorrow to discuss the investigation. a warning from congress today: u.s. companies should stop doing business with china's top two telecommunications firms, huawei technologies and z.t.e. the house intelligence committee reported both have close ties to the government of china. it said using their components in u.s. computer networks could let them steal trade secrets or even shut down vital systems in a time of crisis. the two firms denied any such association to the chinese government.
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venezuela's leftist president hugo chavez will serve another six years after winning reelection sunday. his margin of victory was ten points, the narrowest in his 14 years in power. it was a bitterly fought race against challenger henrique capriles, who conceded defeat. chavez welcomed that concession last night, as supporters poured into the streets and surrounded the presidential palace. he addressed them from the balcony. >> my gratitude to the right wing candidate and his campaign managers who announced to the country that they recognize our victory. this is a very important step for peace in venezuela, for our coexistence. >> sreenivasan: chavez is expected to step up his push for socialism, and to continue his longstanding criticism of u.s. foreign policy. turkey retaliated again today for shelling coming from syria. it was the sixth day of cross- border strikes. the long-range skirmishes were sparked by syrian shells that landed in turkey last week, killing five civilians. immediately after, the turkish parliament approved military operations to combat the
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shelling. in ankara today, turkish president abdullah gul urged the international community to intervene in syria before things get even worse. >> the worst case scenario we've all been dreading is unfolding in syria right now. the syrian people are suffering greatly. as you've seen once in a while we're also affected. some of our citizens have died. >> sreenivasan: the u.n. secretary-general, ban ki-moon, also weighed in. he warned today that the escalating conflict along the turkish-syrian border is "extremely dangerous." a commercial cargo ship was en route to the international space station today on track to arrive wednesday. the falcon rocket, with its unmanned dragon capsule, was launched last night from cape canaveral, florida. it's the first of 12 supply runs under a contract between the private firm space x and nasa. the capsule carries about a thousand pounds of experiments and other gear. the price of gas in california has hit another record high for the third day in a row, in the wake of a pipeline and refinery shutdown.
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people pumping gas across the state today paid an average $4.67 a gallon, the highest in the nation. and in parts of southern california, drivers at some stations are paying close to $6 a gallon. on sunday, governor jerry brown ordered the sale of winter-blend gas three weeks early to increase supplies. wall street started off the week on the losing side. the dow jones industrial average dropped 26 points to close at 13,583. the nasdaq fell nearly 24 points to close at 3112. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: a rare but deadly outbreak of meningitis is raising concerns for thousands of patients nationwide, and sparking questions about the way certain pharmacies are regulated. >> reporter: the outbreak has been linked to tainted steroid injections used to help fight back pain. the medication was distributed by a pharmacy locatedded just outside of boston. the new england compounding center had already recalled the steroid. on saturday it issued a
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voluntary recall for all of its products from the framingham, massachusetts, site. but it came too late for 105 people who contracted a rare form of fungal meningitis including eight who died. family members say the victims were stricken with little warning. >> have a shot. six days later you're fighting for your life. >> i mean everybody is going through the same thing. it's just hard to see your mother. >> brown: in all nine states mostly in the midwest and south have reported cases in the outbreak according to the centers for disease control. health officials say that unlike other types of meningitis, this form is not contagious. still the c.d.c. says 13,000 patients have had injections in recent months. people who received the shots are being urged to get testedded. the doctor working on the investigation. so, doctor, where are we now in this outbreak? are you expecting more cases to
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appear? >> well, jeffrey, to date we've had 105 cases reported to us from nine states. and of those 105 cases, there have been eight deaths. you might have noticed that the number of cases reported has increased in the last several days. this is mainly because we're doing a better job at finding these cases. we don't think the outbreak is spreading any more rapidly. it's just that we're reaching out to patients who might have been exposed and identifying more cases. >> brown: the rise is not un expected you're saying. >> that is correct. c.d.c. is working carefully with state health departments to reach out to every patient who might have received an injection with one of the potentially contaminated medications to find out if they're having symptoms and in cases we are identifying patients who have become ill and are presenting for care and they're being added to our case list. >> brown: what is known at this point about how this could have
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happened? >> well, every case that we've identified so far has received an injection, an epi durrell injection with one of these contaminated lots of a medication that's commonly used to treat low back pain. we think that these lots may have been contaminated somewhere during the production process. so when the patient is exposed to this medication, the germs that are in the contaminated medication ink bait and have found their way into the central nervous system and caused a syndrome known as meningitis which is an infection of the lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. >> brown: how unusual is this? you're describing a fairly routine procedure, this injection, but to impact so many people across so many states, how unusual? >> this is a very unusual type of meningitis. most meningitis is caused by bacteria.
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fungal meningitis is very rare. usually if we see fungal meningitis at all, it's in paents whose immune systems are severely compromised such as patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer. it's unusual to see fungal meningitis in patients with normal immune systems. >> brown: tracing it to this one facility, the so-called compounding pharmacy, is that going to... is this going to provoke a new look at these kinds of facilities? >> whenever we do investigations of outbreaks, we do as much as we can to learn what's going on not only to protect the people currently involved and to make sure that no other infections happen and to make sure that people who might have been exposed or ill receive the proper treatment, i'm sure we'll look at changes that can be made at the level of the facility that's making the injections, changes that can be made by the physicians themselves and also obviously looking at the procedures in these compounding
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pharmacies to see if there are changes that can be made in the future again to prevent this type of thing from happening again. >> brown: briefly, those thousands of people who have been exposed, what should they do? what do they look for? >> i think anyone who has been exposed to one of these potentially contaminated lots, if they're concerned, to contact the physician who did the injection or contact the clinic where the injection has taken place. they will have information on them on how to respond and whether or not to seek care. >> brown: do you think these people are at great risk, low risk? how do you define it? >> well again the investigation is ongoing. so far we think that the vast majority of patients who might have received an injection by one of the contaminated lots have not developed signs of meningitis. it's possible that they won't. we're continuing to follow them closely. we're continuing to learn more about this outbreak. i think it's important that people who have been exposed to
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be vigilant for the onset of symptoms such as headache, fever, stiff neck, sudden onset of flurred speech or weakness or difficulty walking. should any of those things occur again they should contact their physician. >> brown: thanks so much. thank you very much, jeffrey. brown: now >> brown: and now to more on those questions about so-called "compounding pharmacies" that have arisen in the wake of this outbreak. for that, we're joined by kevin outterson, director of the health law program at boston university. most basic one. what exactly is a compounding pharmacy? >> well, jeff, historically pharmacists could compound in their small offices, do something that worked well for a patient that maybe was allergic to an ingredient in the normal drug or perhaps do something for children. you know, take an adult drug and put it into a, you know, a flavored syrup for children. but these pharmacies we're
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talking about here are really almost industrial-scale, large commercial compounding. shipping, as we know from this outbreak, all across the country. so it's a very different thing from the classic historic practice of compounding. >> brown: what we're seeing is not unusual in that sense just in terms of the reach around the country. how unusual though is a problem like this emanating from one of these pharmacies? >> it is unusual. but there have been examples in the past decade of smaller problems, not quite so dramatic as this fungal meningitis. but the difficulty is that john at the c.d.c. and the folks at the fda, they are able to respond after the fact, after people are sick or dying from these conditions. the fda today really doesn't have the right sort of authority from congress to regulate this type of compounding, this industrial compounding before
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the fact, before there's a problem. >> brown: that, of course, is the big question being raised now. who is guarding? who is watching against something like this happening? what is the regulatory regime? it begins with the states rather than at the federal level? >> it's a pharmacy. just like the c.v.s. or wall greens on your corner, it's regulated first by the state, by whatever state it happens to be in. the fda is in charge of regulating drugs and drug manufacturing. so if pfizer or glaks owe wants to produce a drug in china or ireland or anywhere else in the world and sell it in the united states, that factory is under fda regulation. very strict rules on how the... how sanitary it is, how careful they are preventing contamination. but a compounding pharmacy especially one that is industrial in scale just doesn't have that type of f.d.a. regulation. >> brown: that's a hard one for people to understand, isn't it? it's a pharmacy like the one on the corner but you're saying
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it's more of an industrial pharmacy with quite a long reach. what kind of discussion is there in your world about who could do more, who might be better to oversee it, what could the fda do, even under current law? >> there's a little history here. in 2002, the supreme court actually struck down a law that gave the fda some authority in this area. it's the thompson verse he is western states medical center case. the supreme court said on first amendment grounds that compounding pharmacies have the right to advertise their services, and the f.d.a. had taken the opposite position based on legislation from congress in the 1990s. congress held some hearings in 2003 but really nothing ever came of those hearings. so we have a situation in which the fda used to have more clear authority but it was taken away by the supreme court.
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>> brown: you're expecting this case to have some kind of impact on all of that? >> i would think that people in congress would be taking a careful look at whether or not these types of industrial-scale compounding pharmacies should be regulated more like a drug manufacturing facility. >> brown: all right. kevin on ther senate boston university, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: now, to the 2012 nobel prizes. the first was awarded today for groundbreaking work in reprogramming cells in the body. ray suarez looks at those achievements. e nobel is certainly an institute today decided to award the nobel prize in physiology or medicine 2012 jointly to john b. gurdon and shinya yamanaka. >> suarez: the two scientists are from two different
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generations and celebrated today's announcement half a world apart. but today they were celebrated together for their research that led to a ground-breaking understanding of how cells work. sir john gurdon of cambridge university was awarded for his work in 1962. he was able to use specialized cells of frogs, like skin or intestinal cells, to generate new tad poles and show d.n.a. could drive the formation of cells in the body. 40 years later dr. shinya yamanaka built on that and went further. he was able to turn mature cells back into their earliest form as primitive cells. those cells are in many ways the equivalent of embryonic stem cells because they have the potential to develop into specialized cells. for heart, liver and other organs. dr. shinya yamanaka is currently working at kyoto university. embryonic stem cells have had to be harvested from human embryos,
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a source of debate and considerably controversy. for gurdon the prize at special meaning. at a news conference in london he recalled one school teacher's reaction to his desire to study science. >> it was a completely ridiculous idea because there was no hope whatever of my doing science. and any time spent on it would be a total waste of time both on my part and the part of the person having to teach him. so that terminated my completely... completely terminated my science at school. >> suarez: the men will receive their award instockholm in december. for some detail on the science and the men behind today's prize, i'm joined by dr. david scadden codirector of the harvard stem cell institute and a professor at harvard medical school. he also knows both of today's laureates. doctor, a previous winner said of gurdon's work, "it's changed the way we understand how cells in the body become specialized." what was the scientific consensus before that? what had we concluded about the
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way stem cells worked? the way the cells work? >> sure. well, i think cells were viewed much the same way we view our own lives that there's a trajectory where we go from a person of great potential but of unclear specialty, become more and more differentiated as time goes on, making particular choices. it was thought that stem cells had the same kind of pathway, if you will. that as cells started out they could become any cell of the body but gradually they became progressively more specializessed. it was thought that was a one way street. if you were a skin cell you would always be a skin cell and you could never become anything else. what gurdon showed and subsequently shinya yamanaka showed is that that's not the case. it's not just in one direction. that there is the ability to reverse course and go all the way back to becoming the most primitive of cells even if you start with something that is as mature as one of the cells from anyone of us. >> suarez: often cowinners are not collaborators.
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in this case the discoveries are more than 40 years aparity. how do they relate to each other? >> it's very interesting. shinya yamanaka was born the year that sir john gurdon's work was published. they're very different in generation as well as in area of emphasis. sir john gurdon was working on a topic that was very much of concern at the time of the late 'r50s and early 1960s. d.n.a. had just been discovered. it had been recognized as being the stuff that was the code of life and of what cells could become. but it wasn't clear if d.n.a. was stable. so as the cell became more specialized, did it genes change? did they become different than they were in the earliest stage of, say, the fertilized egg? and so what gurdon did was he asked the question by moving the d.n.a. that's in a nucleus from a mature cell into the sight owe plasm of an egg. he showed that nucleus could go
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back and be reprogrammed so it could become just like a fertilized egg, it could become any cell type. that meant that cells really had this plasticity. it was a topic that was frankly considered a little at the margin, if you will. an interesting observation but of unclear practical significance. it really picked up steam decades later as it became possible to think about ways to use embryotic stem cell. people started to think about what if we had another source of those kinds of cells, those cells that are really the fundamental cells that can become anything in the body? it was shinya yamanaka who came up with the bold experiment that said indeed you can do this. you can do this in a very practical straightforward way that actually makes it possible for essentially any laboratory to now be able to do that, to create these cells that are equivalent to the embryonic stem cells in most practical ways.
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>> suarez: in the middle of these two men's world was dolly the sheep. sir ian wilmot was not recognized for his work. is that an oversight? >> well, it's hard to say. i think that sir john gurdon had demonstrated the principle that if you transfer the nucleus where d.n.a. is contained and put it into an egg that it could revert all the way back to become essentially capable of forming a new organism. what sir ian did was he demonstrated you could do that with something as complex as a sheep. that was really a very substantial breakthrough. it was something that really brought a startling into focus for the lay public and sign tiffs that this was something that could be more than just an odd experiment in a laboratory. and something that might have more practical implications. but the transition of that concept to a practical way in which you could do it in any cell was something that was a very substantial leap. shinya yamanaka gets credit for
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really the courageous and insightful scientist that he was. >> suarez: by creating these techniques, has shinya yamanaka's work opened the door to things we couldn't even imagine years ago? >> i think so. you know, the idea of being able to clone an animal, which certainly in wilmot's work has shown and was originally pioneered by john gurdon is something that was of great interest mostly for biologists, perhaps even in the agricultural world but wasn't something that real could have practical implications for medicine. what shinya yamanaka has shown is you could tak cell from anyof us which includes people who have diseases and create a cell that could now become essentially the tool kit from which we could look at the cells that are affected in the disease. if i may give you an example. if we think about people who have a devastating neuro logical
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disease like lou gehrig's disease we haven't been able to study the neurons affected by that disease. now we can take a skin sample from one of those individuals. we can do this preprogramming process that shinya yamanaka taught us how to do. it can become a stem cell that can then be transformed into or made into a nervous system cell, a cell of the brain that's affected by this disease a.l.s., and suddenly we have abundant cells in the laboratory that now are the really the bone a tied model of a disease where previously we had few tools. that is a dramatic step forward that possibly opens up the door for new kinds of therapy. >> suarez: doctor, thanks a lot. thank you. suarez: online you can watch an interview with shinya yamanaka in which the nobel prize winner talked about his research using stem cell derived nerve cells to treat animals with spinal cord injuries.
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>> woodruff: and we take a second look now at the presidential campaign, with just 29 days left until election day. margaret warner has that. >> warner: to get a sense of where the race stands after the first presidential debate, and expectations for this week's face-off between vice president biden and congressman paul ryan, we're joined by three newshour regulars: stuart rothenberg of the "rothenberg political report" and "roll call"; susan page, washington bureau chief of "u.s.a. today"; and andrew kohut, president of the pew research center. welcome back to all of you. before we leap into the polls and the upcoming debate. stu, why would with just a month to go why would the romney campaign decide to give yet another speech on foreign policy. >> the campaign has changed this a number of ways. the focus on foreign policy has changed. margaret, a month ago we were still talking almost entirely about jobs and the economy. now we've had a u.s. ambassador murdered in libya. there's been general... much more attention to foreign
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policy. i think we had good jobs numbers as well. remember that. >> warner: last friday. the romney campaign is looking to go where the ducks are. at this moment the economic numbers are good for the white house but there's more and more controversy about foreign policy and leadership. >> warner: what would you add to that, susan? did they see this as an opportunity to be seized? >> i think the romney camp understands he needs to be seen as a credible commander in chief if he's going to be elected president. there's a bar he needs to get over. i don't think they're going to stick on this issue much it's pretty clear that even though foreign policy has risen a bit and even though there was an opening because of the white house's changing explanation of the attacks in benghazi that killed our ambassador that this election is going to be prosecuted on the economy. that is the topic that i think we will turn back to for most of the remaining weeks of the campaign. >> warner: andy, in all these new polls -- yours and others -- there clearly has been definite movement since the debate. what is underlying it?
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i mean we know that everyone thinks that romney won the debate but what's really driving this shift and how significant is it? >> we have to go back to romney winning the debate. he won the debate by 46 percentage points. that's the largest victory in history according to the gallup poll. it gave a tremendous boost in his person image was was a real problem in september coming out of the conventions and coming out of the gaffes and problems that he had. so we see in our poll by a margin of seven points people say he's the candidate with new ideas. he ties obama now on... for strong leader when a couple of weeks ago and when we did our september survey it was obama who was seen as the strong leader. for the first time in this campaign, romney's personal favorable rating has hit the 50% mark. it's been very, very low.
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he's brought it back up. he's made the race even among registerd voters. he has a slight lead in our poll among likely voters unlike the big margin that obama had a month ago. >> warner: stu, personal qualities was where president obama had had a huge edge. >> exactly. this debate turned things around. it made mitt romney more likable and the leadership is really strong. presidential elections are often about who is the stronger leader. but on other questions, there was significant change. honest and thoughtful. honest and truthful, rather. romney's numbers are up. willingness to work with leaders from the other party. i think there was a significant tonal change over the past week or so in the romney campaign. voters seemed to like it. they're just more open to him these days. >> warner: what we're seeing is sometimes president obama is still ahead in some of these categories but that romney has personally improved his perception of him. >> i think one of the most significant things that happened
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with the debate though is that it energized republicans who had become a little discouraged. there was a sense that maybe this was an election pulling away from them. usa today does polling in partnership with gallup. gallup does daily track that we look at when it's posted at 1:00. today's numbers was posted. obama was ahead by 5 percentage points. gallup will go to a likely voter sample. the five-point advantage for president obama is among registered voters. the impact of doing that is going to wipe out that obama advantage. it's going to make it a tieded race or essentially a tied race. why is that? because republicans are more energized, more likely to actually go and viet. >> warner: andy, you also found on certain issues romney had movedded up. even if president obama remaind ahead but in the handling of certain issues. >> he moved up on the biggie. the number one issue, the americans voters are in improving jobs. a month ago it was about even. in the current poll 49% say we have more confidence in romney. just 41% say that about obama.
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obama or romney now has his advantage on the budget deficit. he made progress on the issues that were the subjects that took... dominated the debate. >> warner: yet you found... go ahead. >> i was just going to add, margaret. andy is absolutely correct. i think it's stunning when you look at medicare, health care and foreign policy, sure, the president still has a narrow advantage on all those issues. but mitt romney suddenly is in the ballgame almost even with the president on these certainly two of the medicare and health care traditionally democratic issues. that's a stunning development, i think. >> warner: how does this lay the table for the vice presidents' debates? it clearly raises the stakes. >> traditionally vice president shall debates have not made very much difference in the outcome of elections. democrats are worried they are losing momentum that they see all these gains for governor romney on so many fronts. this will be a chance for vice
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president biden maybe to prosecute the case in a more effective way than president obama did in his debate and get some of that momentum back rather than waiting for the next presidential debate which is a week later on long island. >> warner: what does the obama campaign thinkthough, stu, that vice president biden has to sort of either undo or do to shift the energy here? >> i think the last debate was about the president's performance. it was about how he has behaved as president and what kind of a leader he was. he failed to show. i think joe biden is going to come out strong, aggressively try to carry the fight to mitt romney and paul ryan to again show that the democratic party, the democratic ticket is fighting frankly. and to. >> warner: some democrats were doubting. >> try to make this debate about the ryan budget, whether the republicans are telling the
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truth. whether there is a different mitt romney to really carry the fight. >> warner: susan, what do the romney-ryan team think it has to do with vice president biden to try to keep the momentum going? >> well... arner: and not become a target of all these questions about the ryan plan. >> you know, a debate where people said that republicans won, that would be great news for the romney team trying to build on this progress that they made since the last debate. because of course as andy knows better than anyone, findings that go your way quickly can go away quickly. it indicates a race in some flux. i think specifically they're going to want to be in a position to defend the attacks they know are coming especially on the issues of medicare and domestic spending because you can tie paul ryan to the paul ryan budget plan that has some things that will be controversial with voters including voters in swing states. >> warner: a quick final thought from you. to what degree to vice presidential debates shift the
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momentum of any campaign. >> hardly much at all. the famous debate we think about is benson and quail. >> warner: you're no jack kennedy. >> had no impact on the race. four years ago when palin and biden debated, biden's victory over palin added to the problems that mccain was having and furthered that. but by and large we don't see these debates as really very consequential in terms of a horse race. >> warner: imagine we can expect a large audience anyway. andy, susan and stu, thank you. >> thanks. you. >> brown: finally tonight: one of the world's leading story- tellers, who became part of one of the world's most dramatic stories. it was in 1989 that salman rushdie's novel was denounced by
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muslims as blasphemy against the prophet mohammed igniting a fire storm. the book was banned and violent protest took place in parts of the islamic world. bookstores in britain that carried it were bombed. within several years the book's japannese translator killed, its norwegian publisher ahead. khomeini spiritual leader of islam's republic issued a decree for his death. the author went into hiding for nearly a decade before the fatwa was lifted. now salman rushdie has written a memoir titled joseph anton, the code name he used both on two of his favorite authors. welcome to you. >> thank you. before we get to the fatwa one of the things that fascinated was the description of your early years in india and educated in england. you present yourself as a secular muslim.
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but one trying to understand the religion and your role in it. >> i mean i grew up in a family in which there was very little religion. my father wasn't religious at all. but he was really interested in the subject of, you know, the birth and growth of islam. he basically transmitted that interest to me. so when i studied history at cambridge, i did a special subject in that exactly. while i was studying it was where i came across the so-called incident of the satanic verses. >> brown: you say in the book you noted good story. >> 20 years later i find out how good a story it was. >> brown: you wrote when you finished the satanic verses you thought it was the least political of the novels you had written at the time. you were genuinely surprised at what had happened. >> i thought i was very respectful about islam. yes from a secular point of view but it talks about the birth of this religion and i thought it was pretty admiring of the
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person at the center of it, the prophet of islam. >> brown: what did you think you were doing? what did you think you were saying about the religion in the novel? >> most of the novel is not about relion. most of the novel is about immigration to england but these dream sequences i thought i was doing two things. one is inquiring into the phenomenon of revelation. if you are not a religious person. but clearly it's a sincere phenomenon. what is it? if you were standing next to the prophet on the mountain, would you have seen the archangel? my answer to that is probably not. even though it's supposed to be a really big archangel. he describes it as the archangel gabriel as standing on the horizon and filling the sky. that's a big angell. i thought, you know, i would probably not have seen that. on the other hand, he's obviously completely telling the truth. so then what is that? that's what i wanted to explore. then i wanted to talk about how ideas are born. and the big question that the book asks in a number of ways about a number of things is that how does a new idea come into
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the world? and using that... the birth of religion, it suggests that you have two tests. you have the test of weakness. when you're weak do you compromise, do you bend, do you give in, do you accommodate? and then the test of strong. when you're strong, are you merciful, are you generous or are you cruel? >> brown: then speaking of tests then you found yourself tested. and how did you find yourself looking back? i mean, i know you created this code name, right? >> yes. brown: then you wrote this book many years later in the third person looking at this character joseph anton, the young salman rushdie. >> it helped me write it novelistically in a way. it helped me look at myself as a fictional character but to look at myself objectively in the round, you know, warts and all. >> brown: what did you see? the one thing i have to say in my favor is i discovered i was tougher than i thought i was. >> brown: you were tougher? yeah. because i think if you had asked me on valentine's day 1989 if you had said to me, here's
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what's going to happen over the next 12 years, what sort of shape do you think you'll be in at the end? i would probably not have bet on myself to be in good shape. yet i somehow did survive it. that's just interesting. i wouldn't have thought that i had that resilience but it turned out that maybe i did. >> brown: to the extent that this confrontation was a kind of test for you or other writers pour tischians for the world, how did everyone do? i know you write about disappointments you had. >> but i think on the whole i think we didn't do so badly. when i say "we" this was a very collective act because i was not by any means the only person threatened. i always thought the front line was the bookstores and bookstores around america around the world did astonishingly well. they held the line. they didn't chicken out. you know, they defended the book. they kept it in the front of the store. people would come and threaten them. they would respond by putting the book in the window.
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behind that the publishers, many of whom were menaced and receiving anonymous phone calls of a very menacing kind and so. almost everybody -- not everybody but almost everybody held the line. at the end of the day, there was an attempt to suppress the book. the book was not suppressed. it's freely available in whatever it is is close to 50 languages. there was an attempt to suppress writer. i'm happy to say the writer was not suppressed. >> brown: he's here with us. i think we didn't do so badly. >> brown: coincidentally amazingly enough here we are again just as your book came out. the film that caused all the uproar in the muslim world. you wrote and you've said that what happened to you you see as a kind of prologue. >> yes. brown: to the con fron thaition is still with us. where are we today now? >> we're still in the middle of it. it doesn't show any sign of going away. these attacks that seemed so odd at the time of the satanic verses because we didn't have any context for this -- where did that come from?
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it seemed to come out of nowhere. since then in the 20 years that have passed we've seen many other not just writers and intellectuals but including writers and intellectuals in the muslim world being attacked and murdered by islamic fanatics. accused of exactly the same things that i was. these immediate evil crimes of appos teas and her see. then broadening from this into a broader attack on all of us. i was living in new york at the time of the 9/11 attacks. i remember, you know, in those weeks that followed when none of us spoke about anything else really. the number of friends of mine, people i knew including very experienced journalists, i heard them saying things like well now we understand what happened to you. i think what happened is that that terrible event showed everybody there was a big narrative that we were all involved in of which this had been, if you like, an opening chapter. >> brown: of course the film is of a different nature, right? it is a kind of provocation... it is purposefully.
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>> it is full of pieces of trash. if you want to look on you-tube and find that insults you, you'll probably find it. >> brown: you don't see the confrontation that you went through going away. >> no. i just think it's... one of the problems of defending the extraordinary principle of freedom of speech is that you have to defend freedom of speech for people like that too. you don't just... you often have to defend the freedoms of people you don't like, you know, whose work you don't like. because freedom of speech is not just for serious people. it's also for trashy people. unfortunately this is at the the trashy end of the scale. >> brown: we're going to continue this conversation online. i hope viewers will join us later on on "art beat." for now the new memoir is out. salman rushdie, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. republican mitt romney charged
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president obama's handling of middle east hot spots has raised the risk of war. and the number of cases in a fungal meningitis outbreak grew again to 105. eight people have died after receiving tainted steroid shots. if you're in your 30s, can you collect benefits? on art beat jeff interviews a scholar about the life and work of vietnamese dissident poet who died last week at age 73. all that and more is on our web site, jeff? >> brown: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at rising temperatures in urban areas, and one city's efforts to cool down. i'm jeffrey brown. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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